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With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still raging across the world contributing well over 100,000 deaths in the U.S. and more than 500,000 deaths globally at the start of July 2020, many are pushing for the creation of a national mask mandate to further flatten the curve. As a new wave of recent COVID-19 cases across the country has left the U.S. fearing another surge might be in its future, pandemic pundits are forecasting that a national mask mandate may not be a part of a farfetched future for the country. Let’s look at what effect this would have on the U.S. as a whole until we can reach the point where a vaccine is possible.

How Long Will It Take To Create A Viable COVID-19 Vaccine?

In the history of medicine, rarely has a vaccine been developed in less than five years. With the COVID-19 vaccine however, scientists are racing to produce a safe and effective vaccine by sometime in 2021. In comparison, the mumps vaccine took four years, which is widely considered the fastest vaccine approval in the history of infectious disease. Even if one or more of the vaccines now in the works turns out to be effective, the FDA approval process typically takes a year or longer. 

How Effective Are Face Masks At Preventing The Spread Of COVID-19?

Since even the most optimistic forecast for the development of a universal, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is possibly years away from mass distribution, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks seem to be a stopgap solution to limit the virus’ spread. The fact remains that many businesses and industries occupy a space where social distancing is nearly impossible to achieve (i.e. entertainment, travel, events, etc.). If these industries want to continue operating at a profit in the future, a national mask mandate may need to be enforced.

After researchers from Goldman Sachs researched the link between face masks and COVID-19 health and economic outcomes, they found that facial coverings are associated with sizable and statistically significant results. Goldman researchers also said that a national mask mandate could raise the percentage of people who wear masks by 15 percentage points and cut the daily growth rate of cases by 1.0 percentage point to 0.6%. This is enough proof for some to agree that more PPE face masks would be an extreme benefit to the general public health as well as the U.S. economy.

Can A National Mask Mandate Improve The U.S. Economy?

Goldman Sachs researchers also found in the same study that a federal face mask mandate would not only cut the daily growth rate of new confirmed cases of Covid-19, but could also save the U.S. economy from taking a 5% GDP hit in lieu of additional lockdowns. One industry that was hit hard by large shifts in demand was the logistics industry. Those in the logistics industry witnessed in early 2020 exactly how extremely high demand for a certain product can create holes in the market if there is no possibility of restocking.

For a short period of time, it was virtually impossible in some countries to get basic goods such as toilet paper, flour or PPE. When panic spread, people acted without thinking about the strain that their panic buying would put on the economy. If there were to be another spike in COVID-19 deaths this Fall, that might be too large of a burden for some industries that don’t possess a solid Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory management system and distribution partner to help them weather that storm.

What Are The Chances Of A National Mask Mandate In The U.S.?

The chances of a national mask mandate in the U.S. happening in the future is unknown. Case in point, President Donald Trump said on July 1st that he’s “all for masks,” but doesn’t think the U.S. needs a national mandate for people to wear them during the coronavirus pandemic. When it comes to those types of national decisions, President Trump is the one to make them so only time will tell if he feels that a national mask mandate is pertinent in the future. 

Since a national mask mandate is likely to be something that is decided with little warning to the general public, businesses and individuals should be ready to handle the influx of face mask buying and hoarding that will likely put a strain on the logistics and PPE manufacturing industries. With this in mind, it’s best to stay proactive and place orders for PPE face masks through a trusted global supply chain partner like Mascon Medical that is highly regarded as a global leader in PPE supply chain distribution during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Procuring personal protective equipment (PPE) has been an urgent priority since day one of the Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) pandemic. Unfortunately, since the start of the global health crisis, the supply chain to get the PPE into the hands of medical professionals has been wrought with roadblocks. 

The current supply chain has been proven to not have the strength and flexibility to handle a demand shock of this magnitude. This market failure must be rapidly reconfigured to meet unprecedented demand for PPE. The only question that remains now is “What would be possible if these supply chain hiccups for PPE were not commonplace?” Let’s take a look:

PPE Supply Chain Problems Abound

As of late April, Washington state (one of the first major states where COVID-19 had originated) had received almost 17 million items of PPE. Although this was a monumental delivery at the time, the state was still waiting on orders of more than 287 million items of PPE to arrive.

To make matters worse, states have been competing against the federal government for the same small stream of supplies, while countries are competing against each other for them too. Even after a shipment seems secured, it could still be redirected; News organizations are reporting that the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is confiscating orders and redirecting them to the national stockpile at the last minute.

Direct Sourcing of PPE Orders

The redirection of PPE orders has been said to notably come from existing major distributors rather than smaller production companies who are set up to move quicker than large distributors to solve the PPE crisis. With the traditional supply chain unable to fill the gap between production and consumption, many hospitals have had to source personal protective equipment, or PPE, directly. Direct sourcing is a new approach to most hospitals because they have historically relied on distributors and group purchasing organizations to manage many aspects of the sourcing process.

Hospital administrators are also finding that they lack the purchasing power, capital, and logistical access to keep up with rapidly rising demand in a manner that meets minimum safety requirements. This can be another driving factor as to why many hospitals are shifting more towards smaller distributors that are focused on high quality, fast turnaround times and smaller quantities.

How Can the U.S. Overcome PPE Supply Chain Problems?

Prior to the effects of COVID-19 being felt nationwide in the U.S., regional manufacturers were making fewer masks, gowns and gloves domestically because it was more cost-effective to rely on importing PPE from other countries. During normal times, this type of manufacturing disparity would be a near non-issue. But since the COVID-19 outbreak began in Wuhan and China manufactures roughly 50% of masks and respirators around the world, the U.S. needed PPE to be developed at home and quickly.

The fact remains that the global shipping system becomes more overwhelmed by the day. As more U.S. citizens are being driven indoors by state-wide stay at home orders, it has created a bottleneck on the domestic supply chain that has affected how quickly orders for PPE can be produced and shipped. Now that talks of the U.S.-China trade war have started to heat up again, it wouldn’t be too farfetched to think that hospitals will be sourcing a majority of PPE from domestic sources for the foreseeable future.

If domestic sourcing of PPE is the only route in the future of U.S. states, then it would be wise to leverage our country’s connections with neighboring states such as Mexico and Canada to secure the necessary supplies in the event that domestic production and restocking of PPE do not solve the crisis quickly enough. Another avenue that would help the U.S. overcome supply chain problems would be for the federal government to secure commitments from major banks to provide upfront payment for any government purchase order, regardless of which vendors the payments are going to. Above and beyond this, regulators could also loosen restrictions on regulations for PPE shipments to streamline the payment and shipment processes.

WOBURN, Mass., May 20, 2020 (Newswire.com) – Over nearly four decades, Mascon Medical has built a reputation for quality, transparency, and ethical business practices around the world. The company’s medical division is carrying on this tradition every day by giving customers status updates on goods in the pipeline, with regular updates on changes (e.g., when a shipment has cleared Customs). Mascon Medical excels in many areas of the supply chain including (but not limited to) compliance, vendor management/auditing, quality control systems, total cost of ownership, supply chain logistics, and customer service.

“We live in a new supply chain paradigm where traditional just-in-time supply chain and distribution strategies cannot meet the exponential increase in demand. Everyone from Hospitals, First Responders, Federal, State and Local Governments, Schools, Manufacturers, Hospitality, Retail, F&B Outlets, etc. must adapt from a just-in-time model to a just-in-case model. The organizations that can adapt the quickest with medium and long-term planning for just-in-case will win. Mascon, Inc. has nearly 40 years of experience working with its customers and clients on maintaining continuity of supply and planning for the just-in-case while allowing its customers to pull from our managed inventory in a just-in-time model,” says CEO and President of Mascon Medical, John R. Chen.

As China continues to tighten export restrictions on masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Mascon Medical is working hard to continue globally sourcing and supplying a wide variety of medical professionals with high-quality, low-cost PPE. By tapping into its large supply chain of FDA, CE, CDC, and NIOSH-certified suppliers, Mascon Medical has been able to exceed expectations in procurement and delivery of PPE since the inception of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Mascon Medical has procured over 3.3 million PPEs globally during the four weeks preceding April 22, 2020, with confirmation of shipments occurring daily. These shipments include the N95 NIOSH, KN95, along with the three-ply surgical masks that are in high demand for all industries in the U.S. including healthcare, logistics, distribution manufacturing and retail.

John R. Chen, CEO and President of Mascon Medical explains that “Mascon Medical is currently working with many Massachusetts public and private organizations on long-term strategic planning for ensuring the security of their mid and long-term PPE and supply chains and sharing best-practices for workplace safety.”

The team at Mascon Medical is proud to be serving the healthcare community by placing shields between the sick and healthy during this critical time. We’re looking forward to adding you to our fast-growing customer roster.


John R. Chen

Mascon Medical

Phone: +1 (781) 938-5800

Email: info@www.masconmedical.com

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